LABOUR’S leftwingers “are the modernisers now,” MP Jon Trickett said yesterday after Tony Blair moaned that the party had become a “fringe protest movement” under Jeremy Corbyn.
Former PM and wealthy warmonger Blair called for “more modernising and less ideological thinking” — then defended his military adventures abroad as an anti-fascist crusade — in the Spectator.
He cited “transformative” education reforms as one of his party’s key achievements in government — even though they presaged and underpinned Tory fragmentation of the school system.
Mr Blair’s interventions in Labour’s leadership election over the summer were credited with inadvertently assisting Mr Corbyn’s rise to power.
But yesterday he seemed undeterred, writing: “Many — especially in today’s Labour Party — felt we lost our way in government.
“I feel we found it. But I accept in the process we failed to convince enough people that the true progressives are always the modernisers, not because they discard principle but because they have the courage to adhere to it when confronted with reality.”
But Mr Trickett, a member of Mr Corbyn’s shadow cabinet, told the Star it was Mr Blair who was out of touch. “The country has changed profoundly. Economic orthodoxy has proved to be a failure, politics has fallen into disrepute, and it’s clear we need a more open, transparent, participatory democracy.
“It’s a recognition of these changes that led Labour to elect its new leadership, which is far more in tune with Britain’s needs. We are the modernisers now.”
Mr Blair used his article to fire a vague broadside at shifts in Labour’s policy and organisational direction since Mr Corbyn’s election.
“Right now we’re in danger of not asking the right questions, never mind failing to get the right answers,” he said.
“All of it is about applying values with an open mind; not boasting of our values as a way of avoiding the hard thinking the changing world insists upon.”
Mr Trickett suggested it was cheeky for the former leader to claim Labour was in disarray given the huge loss of members under Mr Blair.